Up until now, I think we’d all agree that the INtel Atom is the processor of choice when it comes to netbooks. As it turns out, one of its biggest competitors could be a better performer for about the same price. That seems to be the case with the Lenovo IdeaPad S12, a netbook that comes with a VIA Nano processor.
Doug Aamoth of Crunchgear had the opportunity to take this litttle portable computer out for a test drive and he found that the performance was better than similar Atom-powered netbooks. It’s still not as good as a real notebook, but he’d slot it just under the ULV processors that we find in some smaller laptops.
In terms of specs, the IdeaPad S12 gets a 12.1-inch screen, 1GB of RAM, 160GB SATA hard drive, six-cell battery, Windows XP Home, and VIA Nano ULV 2250 processor. That last tidbit is of particular interest. Its specs include a 800MHz FSB, 1MB L2 cache, and a clock speed of 1.3GHz.
Even though the clock speed is slower than an equivalent Atom, the VIA Nano processor has a faster FSB and double the L2 cache. This seems to be enough to handle full-screen video watching in Windows Media Player, including 720p videos in WMV, DivX, XviD, QuickTime, and MP4 formats.
It look like Intel may have a real challenger on its hands. I can’t wait to see what a dual core Atom processor can do.